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"Women can do the same work as men"

Jayanti is proud to say she is a now an independent young woman. Recalling the days when her life was limited to household chores and agricultural labour, she does not take her new found freedom lightly.

Jayanti making products out of cane
Jayanti making products out of cane.

Jayanti, 22, grew up in a remote ethnic community in west Nepal, around 700 km from Kathmandu. Unable to continue her education after failing her high school examinations, she had no option but to work in the fields with the rest of her family from dawn till dusk. After that she had to take care of her younger siblings and do her chores, leaving no time left for anything else.
 
Resigned to her fate, her hopes of becoming a teacher became an unobtainable dream. 

New skills transform lives

The turning point in her life came when she joined a local women’s group facilitated by Plan International which supports the growth of women-led business enterprises and develops their earning potential.

If opportunities are provided to young women, they all can change not only their own lives, but also help change others too.

Jayanti got involved in the meetings and group activities and took part in a 2-month vocational training course to learn how to make furniture and decorative items from cane, a locally available material. 

Before she joined the women’s group, Jayanti thought that only men could work in the cane business because they are stronger, but she has now changed her mind. 
 
"Women can do the same work as men do, we only need the opportunity. If such opportunities are provided to young women, they all can change not only their own lives, but also help change others too." 

Making a profit

The women produce book racks, small chairs and other items from cane and each earn between €60 and €100 per month. 
 
The products they make are supplied to the local market and are also sent to India. Recently, Jayanti and her team sold their products at the provincial business fair in Nepalgunj earning around €850, their biggest success so far. By taking part in the fair, Jayanti was also able to expand her trade network and build future connections.
 
From the income she makes, Jayanti is supporting her younger sister’s education, paying for school materials, uniforms and other costs. She also supports her parents with their household expenditure and pays for her grandfather’s medical treatment.